Eric Avery Named Producing Artistic Director
Updated: Mar 4
AlterTheater is pleased to announce the appointment of Eric Avery as the company’s new Producing Artistic Director. The Producing Artistic Director will be part of AlterTheater’s shared leadership model, leading the company collaboratively with the Director of New Play Development Diana Burbano and the Literary Committee. Avery will head the production aspects of the organization left by outgoing co-founder and Artistic Director Jeanette Harrison, who recently joined Artists Repertory Theater in Portland, OR.
Avery, an interdisciplinary artist originally from Kansas, joined AlterTheater in November of 2022 and just produced the rolling world premiere of Pueblo Revolt by AlterLab Playwright Dillon Chitto. The Rella Lossy Award winning comedy received rave reviews from audiences and critics alike in its four-week run at the Arts Research Center at UC Berkeley and Art Works Downtown in San Rafael.
“Pueblo Revolt and Dillon Chitto are emblematic of the kinds of people and productions that drew me to AlterTheater,” Avery beams, “and I’m ecstatic to support our growing artist vanguard.”
Before joining AlterTheater, Avery spent nearly two decades as a freelance artist. Prior to the pandemic, they worked with zAmya Theater Project on A Prairie Homeless Companion, which toured to five communities across Minnesota and explored rural homelessness and housing insecurity. Avery then designed the puppetry for MOBY DICK at American Repertory Theater and was awarded an Elliot Norton Award for Outstanding Design. Once the pandemic hit Avery took a year to reflect and decided to move to California.
“It’s a relief to land at a place that shares my values, and I’m referring both to AlterTheater and the Bay Area,” says Avery. “Here it’s not absurd to believe that art and culture can create change in our lives and community, it’s inevitable.”
AlterTheater will present two more stories by Native playwrights in 2023: Snag by Tara Moses and A Boarding School Play by Blossom Johnson. Both projects were also created within AlterLab. A Boarding School Play will be workshopped in the spring at the Playwright’s Center in Minneapolis with a live production in the Bay Area later in the year. Snag was filmed in 2022 and is currently in post-production.
Now that Pueblo Revolt is closed, Avery and Burbano are working with the Board of Directors to prepare AlterTheater for its next chapter as a community rooted BIPOC-led organization.
“Working with Eric during this transition has been a joy. They have fantastic ideas, and they are the perfect person to steer this organization back into our San Rafael Community.” says Burbano. “I'm so excited to continue to work with them to shape the course of this new iteration of AlterTheater.”
ABOUT ERIC AVERY:
Eric Avery (they/he) is an interdisciplinary artist with over fifteen years of professional experience in theatre, immersive performance, and community-based art. This wide-ranging freelance creative practice has utilized puppets, buildings, food, improvisation, song, installation, participation, travel, humor, text, time, imagination, algorithms, honesty, facilitation, and tape; lots of tape. Since 2018, they have focused on applying a reparationist framework to their creative practice, cultural organizing projects, and life. This dedication to relationship-centered process has put Avery in collaboration with partners at non-profit organizations, municipalities, social service agencies, universities, farms, community centers, prisons, art galleries, and private homes.
In addition to collaborations, Avery has independently created and produced over 25 original productions. He earned a Bachelor's in Theatre & Film from the University of Kansas and an MFA in Theatre Arts from Towson University. Awards and honors include: Bessie Award (Outstanding Visual Design), Lavender Magazine Best of List (Outstanding Performance), Elliot Norton Award (Outstanding Design), Minnesota Humanities Center Innovation Lab Grant, Art(ists) on the Verge 7 Fellowship, Naked Stages Fellowship, Artist Initiative Grant, Next Step Grant, Cultural Community Partnership Grant. More at https://efranklin.tv/
AlterTheater develops and produces plays written and performed by the best established and emerging storytellers, presented where people live, work, or play. AlterTheater has always told stories in places where people are; for 15 years, the company performed in highly visible, non-traditional spaces, primarily storefronts in downtown San Rafael’s pedestrian shopping district, with windows left clear, so passersby could “window shop” theater.
AlterTheater has been commissioning, developing and premiering new plays since 2008. Its AlterLab playwright residency focuses on writers from underrepresented communities: 85% of writers are women and ⅔ of writers identify as BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and/or People of Color). While the cohorts are multi-ethnic, they’ve supported more Native playwrights than any other demographic (30%). AlterLab plays include Drunk at the Base of the Bodhi Tree by Julie Hébert, Bondage by Star Finch, BABA by Denmo Ibrahim, and The River Bride by Marisela Treviño Orta. Previous AlterLab writers include Lauren Yee,Michelle Carter, and Larissa FastHorse, whose Thanksgiving Play will be produced on Broadway in 2023.
AlterTheater's 3rd Annual Summer Acting Camp for Native Youth will be held at Southern Oregon University July 31-August 4th. This is a free, one of a kind, sleep away camp for Native American students in grades 7-12, no experience needed.. Students explore theater games, character work, improv and scene work, while also participating in college prep workshops. Previous camps were held at University of Nevada, Reno and University of California, Berkeley. For more information reach out to Tanis Parenteau, Tribal Liaison/Outreach Coordinator (firstname.lastname@example.org).